In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, they can be found by clicking the labels button "stuff I made up".

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Random Ramblings

People are no damned good.


I was griping to my project inspector about how millions are spent to keep drunks from driving into rivers, yet a plastic orange barrel, without a reduced speed, is acceptable for a workers exposed to the same drunks.Of course he agreed with me, since he has the same exposure.

Anyway, back to the subject, which is guardrail.

Guardrail is made from rolled sheet metal, which gives it a shape that resists bending, yet allows it to remain lightweight. The depth of the rail is 3 inches, after rolling. The rail is hot dip galvanized after rolling, which prevents corrosion for decades; as long as the galvanize coating isn't damage. A typical section is light enough for two men to carry, and a small crew can place it without heavy equipment. Although this isn't the preferred method for production placement, it allows the minimum amount of people to replace small, damaged sections.

A typical rail section is a little longer than 25 feet, which allows for bolting the sections together. Holes in the rail are slotted, which allows some play during placement. Drilling for a perfectly positioned post isn't impossible, but not having the slots would make placement much more expensive. Sections are bolted with 5/8 inch hot dip galvanized button head bolts. The button head slides into the slotted hole, and allows tightening without a backup wrench. Eight bolts hold each section together and the sections are always overlapped so the lap faces away from traffic. This prevents a section torn loose in an accident from becoming a lethal lance, until the section is repaired.

The domed posts are treated wood 6 feet 3 inches long, and 7 inches in diameter. Bolt holes are drilled in the posts. When buried to the correct depth of 42 inches, the hole is 25 inches above the edge of the paving, which is the correct height for the center of the rail. The standard spacing is 6 feet 3 inches, although that spacing is less at the connection to bridges.

The edge of the paving is the preferred position for the face of guardrail. On a highway with a shoulder, that's the edge of the shoulder. On curbed streets, that's the back of the curb.  With a typical section of rail, with 7 inch blockouts, that means the center of the post is 13-1/2 inches from the face of the rail.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there are years of study, experience and engineering involved with guardrail. Many lives were saved over the years due to guardrail, and if undamaged, a section can last the lifetime of an individual. I'm removing a section that was placed when I was a child. If changing the location wasn't required for a bridge rail retrofit, the section would have remained as long as nothing was required for its removal.

Still, it chaps my ass to think of all the money spent to keep people safe, yet those that place what saves lives are so inconsequential to bureaucrats, they're not willing to do the paperwork, and spend the money for a sign that mandates people slow down when they're working on the guardrail that keeps the attorneys at bay.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Don Henley: Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat

The devil will drag you under by the sharp lapel of your checkered suit.

Texas Law Upheld by Supreme Court

The usual peanut gallery of progressive hack judges didn't agree, but the final court ruling allows the Texas laws on voter identification law to stand. If you're interested, there's plenty of reading at this web site about the law. 

Long story short: a Federal District Judge decided she would flex her muscles and rule the law is unconstitutional. Of course, she's a progressive hack, and her action led to the expenditure of large amounts of money to prove her decision was crap. She was appointed by Obama. That should explain everything. As another lawless minion of an administration that ignores laws, along with decency, she's just another person that is part of the agenda to undermine the the United States.

So the law stands and it makes voter fraud more difficult to accomplish, which is a good thing. Voting is important, but is useless if the integrity is removed by allowing fraudulent votes to be counted.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bermuda Hurricane

A hurricane is in the process of striking Bermuda. Radar shows the eye will pass over the islands over the next few hours.

Why am I writing about this? I know how they feel. It's all doom and gloom, but unless you've been close to the eye of a strong hurricane, you have no idea of what it's like.

First: The misconception of you can leave if it gets too bad becomes apparent. With the rain passing in horizontal sheets, you know you can't go out in such a mess and driving will probably be worse.

Second: After you accept you're in it for the duration, it's kinda neat. The wind isn't steady during the entire event; and the moments of calm allow you to hear the distant, roaring approach of the next batch of wind. That, and tornadoes sound like freight trains. They really do. The high, circular winds sound like a large, diesel engine.

Third: Unless you're hit by a tornado, most homes will only suffer minor damage. Sure, many things will blow away, and you might even have a window broken, but as long as the house doesn't come apart, you'll survive to clean up the damage.

All, in all, the fury of a major hurricane is much smaller than many think. A few dozen miles in any direction can make a huge difference.

I'm not advocating hurricane parties, or any such foolishness. That's dangerous, but I always think of what an old man told me: "You hide from the wind; and run from the water." He was right. The wind is bad, but being below 20 feet above sea level is a risk nobody should take during a hurricane. The storm surge can raise water levels to the eves of low lying homes in minutes. In those few minutes, escaping to the attic may be a death sentence, unless you have a chain saw to cut through the roof. Even if you escape, you might find your long, dark night is spent with dozens of snakes and the other critters trying to survive.